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good evening. as we come on the air tonight, it is a blustery mess for americans trying to travel for the holidays. a monster storm wreaking havoc in the air and on the roads. take a look at this. a tractor trailer is no match for the wind and the ice. cars are piling up everywhere, going nowhere in the snow. and this is the view through one driver's windshield. whiteout. it is slick and dangerous for travelers tonight. and abc's meteorologist ginger zee is tracking it all from the snows of des moines, iowa. ginger? >> reporter: diane, it has been a punishing day for millions of americans. the snow drifts growing so tall here in iowa, and the blizzard, only part of the problem. tonight, an aggressive winter storm, carrying thrashing winds and blowing snow, has shut down major highways across the
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midwest and killed at least five people. there have been more than 1,000 spinouts and crashes from nebraska to wisconsin. in iowa, it was a 25-car pileup on i-35. so many people stranded on the roads across that state, the iowa national guard has mobilized 80 troops in humvees to come in and help. >> they can get into places where the traction isn't really good. >> reporter: the blowing snow is really the problem here. it has stopped falling but you can hardly tell. the cars still litter the side of the highway. there are incredible whiteouts up and down i-80. the blizzard is just part of this mammoth storm that came in with a bang. that's thunder snow from madison, wisconsin. the first major winter storm of the season knocked out power to 400,000 homes in nine states. kcrp reporter mark carlson, just down the road from me here in iowa, struggled to stay on his
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feet. >> there's a sheet of ice -- whoa, that was the one! >> reporter: in wisconsin, snow was coming in sideways, pelting wisn meteorologist jeremy nelson. finally, the southern part of the storm. waking parts of alabama up with severe thunderstorms and an ef-1 tornado. our reporter, bill pearson, from wear-tv, was there. >> an early morning thunderstorm was powerful enough to cause a tornado and rip the wall off this shopping center, leaving a pile of metal and ins lugs. >> reporter: the snowstorm now moves northeast. tonight, chicago with rain changing to snow and all that wind. then, heavy snow from michigan to west virginia to maine. you know, if you can find any positive inside this powder, the people here in this part of the country tell me, at least it's moisture. remember, they've seen extreme and severe drought for years. diane? >> all right, ginger, reporting in from those slick roads. and for perspective, 87 million of us will be navigating the roads for the holiday, while
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nearly 6 million of us will be trying to fly. but a lot of airports are struggling tonight, including busy o'hare in chicago and abc's alex perez is there. >> reporter: more than 1,000 flights across the country already canceled tonight. from texas -- >> now i can't get out until the morning. >> reporter: to des moines, iowa, where they got a foot of snow. >> we just found a rental car and decided we're going to try and make the drive through. >> reporter: in denver, those stranded just trying to get out. >> delayed, delayed and now i've been in here for like an hour. >> reporter: and at chicago's busy o'hare airport, hundreds of flights delayed tonight. >> very frustrating, anxious to get home and i hate being at the airport. >> reporter: as the wind, rain and snow sweeps east from chicago, new york, boston, washington, d.c. and philadelphia airports all expecting delays overnight and tomorrow. and united and american say they will waive fees for some travelers that want to change their plans, but that's little consolation for those trying to get home to see their families.
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diane? >> long lines forming behind you. thank you, alex. and, we move on now to another traveler who put his holiday plans on hold, but for a very different reason. president obama had hoped to begin his family vacation tomorrow, but he's staying in washington because of the wrangling over the fiscal cliff, now 12 days away. and abc's jonathan karl tells us tonight what happened today on the high stakes negotiations. >> reporter: with all the bickering, you'd think they're miles apart. >> my proposal is right there in the middle. >> his plan is not balanced. >> what we have from the speaker is a disastrous plan. >> this president has not come forward with that balanced approach. >> reporter: but in reality, the differences just aren't that great. speaker of the house john boehner has now agreed to do something republicans had said was unthinkable -- raise tax rates on the wealthy. the difference? democrats would raise rates on those making over $400,000 a year. republicans on those making over a million dollars.
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and president obama has now agreed to something that had been unthinkable for democrats. cutting spending on social security and medicare. programs they've considered untouchable. even when it comes to how much to tax and how much to cut, the difference isn't all that much. speaker boehner wants a 50/50 split between tax hikes and spending cuts. president obama leans a little heavier on tax hikes. so, the difference in their grand plans is just this. when you ask them why they can't just meet in the middle, you get this -- why can't you just split the differences and get a deal done? >> i don't think that the white house has gotten serious. >> we don't have a definite offer from the speaker. >> reporter: but tonight on capitol hill, there is no indication that the two sides are close at all. in fact, house republicans are about to pass something that senate democrats say is going nowhere and the president has already threatened to veto. diane? >> all right, jonathan karl. and jon, before i let you go, i want to congratulate you on a new reporting role for abc news,
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our chief white house correspondent. and we are so excited, looking forward to seeing you over at the white house soon. >> reporter: thank you, diane. i'm looking forward to it. >> that's great. and i know you were aware of something else that happened on capitol hill today, a very moving reminder of the greatest generation. and the ties that bind. in the capitol rotunda today, former senator bob dole paying tribute to his old friend, senator daniel inouye of hawaii. inouye lying in state after his death earlier this week. the two men became friends while serving in world war ii. inouye lost an arm. senator dole nearly lost his. and so, 89-year-old senator dole, now confined to a wheelchair, insisted on walking to pay his respects, saying, i don't want danny to see me in a wheelchair. and next, we turn to the day-to-day in newtown, connecticut, where 26 children and teachers were gunned down. today, there were five more funerals.
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and tomorrow will be a day of mourning across connecticut. at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow, a moment of silence to mark the one-week anniversary of the tragedy. and also today, vice president joe biden began his task of curbing gun violence in america. he called in cabinet officials, police chiefs and law enforcement experts to give him ideas. and one of those men was the chief of police in baltimore, maryland, jim johnson, who said it's time to stop letting anyone who wants to fire off dozens of bullets without even having to reload. and he shows abc's john quinones the mere seconds that could save lives. >> reporter: they come in cases of 20, 30, even 120 bullets. maximum fire power packed into high capacity magazines. >> a lot more fire power. >> reporter: when the magazine is loaded into a weapon, a shooter can keep firing until it's empty. by then, the damage can be devastating.
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and this is why the police chief in baltimore county, maryland, wants to outlaw all but the smallest of these magazines. right here, this is it? >> yes, sir. >> reporter: the fewer the bullets, the more often the shooter has to stop firing, eject the empty cartridge and reload another one. and that window, why is that crucial? >> folks that are being attacked have time to react. >> reporter: exactly how much time do you have in that window? we put a clock to it. an expert like this police officer can switch magazines in less than two seconds. we try it ourselves. our fastest time, 4.2 seconds. four seconds. enough time for someone to flee the room or tackle the shooter. in this 2007 police video from texas, a suspect fires 11 times at law enforcement. when he empties his magazine, he dives back into his truck. that gives police time to open fire. it happened in arizona, during the attack on congresswoman gabby giffords.
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jared loughner was wrestled down when he stopped shooting to reload his pistol. and then there was that school shooting right here in maryland earlier this year. >> the suspect in this case tried to reload the weapon. we had a teacher tackle him during that process. >> reporter: a teacher got him? >> a teacher. a brave teacher. >> reporter: last week, at sandy hook elementary, police believe adam lanza was armed with high-capacity magazines. he didn't have to stop to reload until he had fired at least 30 times. any reason why you think the general public should have a high-capacity magazine? >> no. no place for it. >> reporter: when he went to washington today, chief johnson met with vice president biden as he continues pushing for that ban. meanwhile, diane, i checked with various gun shops around the country and those high-capacity magazines, they're flying off the shelves. some stores tell me they're sold out. >> all right, john quinones, so great to have you reporting in for us tonight. and i want everybody to be sure to watch "nightline" tonight.
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our reporters will be taking you through the day in the life of the american gun. and today is the biggest shipping day of the year. 28 million packages are tearing across the country right now, with ups, more than 300 every second. and there is a big, new race under way. companies promising to deliver your orders faster and faster. the giant company ebay saying they can get a package to you within an hour after your order. so, abc's ron claiborne took out the clock and put them to the test. >> reporter: it's the season to shop later and to get what you buy faster than ever. next day delivery? how about same day delivery? that's what some big retailers like walmart and amazon are doing this year. >> we are in an arms race for speed today. we want santa on steroids. >> reporter: but the new extreme in fastest? delivery in just one hour. this holiday season, ebay is touting that right now, for just a $5 dlif delivery fee, you can
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get your purchase in 60 minutes or less. so far, they're testing it in two cities -- new york and san francisco. for retailers, time really is money. shipping later means being able to sell more goods. shipping faster breeds loyal customers. >> it's not a practical benefit, it's an emotional benefit. getting it fast is a present itself. >> reporter: christmas is next week. but can they deliver? we decided to put it to the test. they're telling me i can get this at macy's for $28. i place my order at 1:30 in the afternoon, for an l.a. dodgers t-shirt. they're showing on here it's going to come from macy's down on 34th street. >> hi, my name is brendan. i'm calling from ebay now. >> reporter: brendan, the ebay courier, was dispatched to get my gift. but at 2:03 p.m., bad news. yeah, hello? >> they do not have any baseball shirts in stock. go with this brooklyn nets t-shirt here? >> reporter: perfect, perfect. brooklyn nets. and at 2:40, brendan arrives. my shirt? >> yes, sir. >> reporter: not quite within the hour, but close.
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call it the gift that keeps on giving -- brooklyn nets -- faster and faster. ron claiborne, abc news, new york. and still ahead here on "world news," medical errors. an implement left inside a patient? dr. richard besser tonight on why this is still happening often and has a brand new report, as well, on what you need to know. [ male announcer ] alka-seltzer plus presents the cold truth. i have a cold, and i took nyquil, but i'm still "stubbed" up. [ male announcer ] truth is, nyquil doesn't unstuff your nose. what? [ male announcer ] it doesn't have a decongestant. no way. [ male announcer ] sorry. alka-seltzer plus fights your worst cold symptoms plus has a fast acting decongestant to relieve your stuffy nose. [ sighs ] thanks! [ male announcer ] you're welcome. that's the cold truth! [ male announcer ] alka-seltzer plus. ♪ oh what a relief it is! ♪ [ male announcer ] to learn more about the cold truth and save $1 visit alka-seltzer on facebook.
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a regular guy with an irregular heartbeat. the usual, bob? not today. [ male announcer ] bob has afib: atrial fibrillation not caused by a heart valve problem, a condition that puts him at greater risk for a stroke. [ gps ] turn left. i don't think so. [ male announcer ] for years, bob took warfarin, and made a monthly trip to the clinic to get his blood tested. but not anymore. bob's doctor recommended a different option: once-a-day xarelto®. xarelto® is the first and only once-a-day prescription blood thinner for patients with afib not caused by a heart valve problem, that doesn't require routine blood monitoring. like warfarin, xarelto® is proven effective to reduce the risk of an afib-related stroke. there is limited data on how these drugs compare when warfarin is well managed. no routine blood monitoring means bob can spend his extra time however he likes. new zealand! xarelto® is just one pill a day, taken with the evening meal. and with no dietary restrictions,
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and now, a major alert from doctors at one of americas leading medical schools. a new report from johns hopkins says more than 4,000 times a year, surgeons are making mistakes in the operating room that should never happen and can be stopped, now. abc's chief medical editor dr. richard besser with advice for everyone tonight. >> reporter: a surgical clamp left inside an abdomen. a scissor blade left near a pelvis. even this one. an 18-inch retractor left behind. and surgical mistakes like the one that happened to lonnie. they operated on the wrong knee. >> i was under. i was helpless. >> reporter: it happens a lot more than you might think. >> what we found is that about 40 times per week in the u.s., patients have a sponge or a towel left. 20 times a week, we operate on the wrong side of the body or the wrong part of the body. and 20 times we do the wrong operation. >> reporter: dr. jeffrey port of
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new york presbyterian hospital showed me what's supposed to happen before surgery even starts. >> we make a mark with our initials on the side of the surgery. >> reporter: the surgeon initials the correct limb. once inside the o.r., everything stops and they hold up a checklist. >> what is the procedure? does it match the consent? >> reporter: nurses should count the instruments and gauze sponges before and after surgery. and some hospitals use a new technology that dr. port pioneered. a tiny tracking chip attached to each piece of gauze. are surgeons taking this seriously? >> very seriously. >> and rich besser is here right now. so, you walk into the hospital, what's the first thing you ask? what's the first thing you do? >> reporter: well, you know, you want to make sure that your hospital is using this checklist, using this system. surgeons call these type of errors never events, because they are all totally preventable. you want to make sure your doctor is following those. >> what about taking your own magic marker and, whether it's you or whether it's someone you are advocating for, mark it yourself?
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>> reporter: yeah, do that yourself. they should be doing that, too. and you want to make sure, before you are wheeled into that operating room, they know what they're doing and what part of the body they're doing it on. >> if you haven't seen a mark being made -- >> reporter: don't go into that operating room. >> take action. >> reporter: exactly. >> okay. dr. richard besser, thank you. and coming up, the surprising story behind this photo. we loved this. why these twins are celebrating a very special christmas. let's give thanks - for an idea. a grand idea called america. the idea that if you work hard, if you have a dream, if you work with your neighbors... you can do most anything. this led to other ideas like liberty and rock 'n' roll. to free markets, free enterprise, and free refills. it put a man on the moon
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and a phone in your pocket. our country's gone through a lot over the centuries and a half. but this idea isn't fragile. when times get tough, it rallies us as one. every day, more people believe in the american idea and when they do, the dream comes true. we're grateful to be a part of it. [ male announcer ] the rhythm of life. [ whistle blowing ] where do you hear that beat? campbell's healthy request soup lets you hear it... in your heart. [ basketball bouncing ] heart healthy. great taste. mmm... [ male announcer ] sounds good. you [ male announcer ] this is sheldon, whose long dy setting up the news starts with arthritis pain and a choice. take tylenol or take aleve, the #1 recommended pain reliever by orthopedic doctors. just two aleve can keep pain away all day. back to the news. just two aleve can keep pain away all day. to the best vacation sp(all) the gulf!
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it doesn't matter which of our great states folks visit. mississippi, alabama, louisiana or florida, they're gonna love it. shaul, your alabama hospitality is incredible. thanks, karen. love your mississippi outdoors. i vote for your florida beaches, dawn. bill, this louisiana seafood is delicious. we're having such a great year on the gulf, we've decided to put aside our rivalry. now is the perfect time to visit anyone of our states. the beaches and waters couldn't be more beautiful. take a boat ride, go fishing or just lay in the sun. we've got coastline to explore and wildlife to photograph. and there's world class dining with our world famous seafood. so for a great vacation this year, come to the gulf. its all fabulous but i give florida the edge. right after mississippi. you mean alabama. say louisiana or there's no dessert. this invitation is brought to you by bp and all of us who call the gulf home.
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and now, our "instant index." and it starts with a very special christmas portrait. allison and amelia tucker with santa. 10 months old. so, what makes it amazing? well, these girls were born joined at the chest. sharing a diaphragm and a liver until 40 doctors separated them in a christmas miracle. so, when santa came to the hospital in philadelphia, each baby had a separate perch on santa's knees. the smaller of the two went home today. the other will stay through the holidays, but both are expected to live full and healthy lives. and we have two postcards from the extreme cold. first, this is a snapshot from the north pole and look. it's like a field of flowers on the ice. but your eyes are deceiving you. they are called frost flowers. icy bouquets that rise up when cold water collides with even colder air. and a video from icy siberia, where they want us to
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know what it's like to wake up to 40 degree below zero. this man took a pot of boiling water off the stove, tossed it outside to show you. within seconds, it becomes icy sleet. that was boiling water. a little perspective on our winter goosebumps. and we do want to hear from you. tweet me your thoughts for "instant index," @dianesawyer. and coming up, that ancient mayan doomsday prediction. a lot of experts are saying "relax." and guess what? maybe everybody read it wrong, and it's good news. eps you gues. it's part of what you love about her. but your erectile dysfunction - you know, that could be a question of blood flow. cialis tadalafil for daily use helps you be ready anytime the moment's right. you can be more confident in your ability to be ready. and the same cialis is the only daily ed tablet approved to treat ed and symptoms of bph, like needing to go frequently or urgently. tell your doctor about all your medical conditions and medications, and ask if your heart is healthy enough for sexual activity.
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do not take cialis if you take nitrates for chest pain, as this may cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure. do not drink alcohol in excess with cialis. side effects may include headache, upset stomach, delayed backache or muscle ache. to avoid long-term injury, seek immediate medical help for an erection lasting more than four hours. if you have any sudden decrease or loss in hearing or vision, or if you have any allergic reactions such as rash, hives, swelling of the lips, tongue or throat, or difficulty breathing or swallowing, stop taking cialis and get medical help right away. ask your doctor about cialis for daily use and a 30-tablet free trial.
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and finally tonight, everyone on the planet is talking about the prediction in that 5,000-year-old mayan calendar.
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world leaders and scientists scrambled today to say the end of the world is not near. here's abc's david wright. >> reporter: the ancient mayans are now a problem for nasa. the space agency has received so many panicked calls about the mayan apocalypse, they put out a video to reassure people. >> it will be a day just like any other. >> reporter: it's surprising how potent this obscure mayan prophesy has turned out to be. hieroglyphics suggesting tonight, it's all over. the mayans believed time itself began august 11th, 3114 b.c. their long count calendar, which measures millenia, ends on the winter solstice this year, december 21st, 2012. ancient prophecy meets modern anxieties. so, this is it, huh? >> this is it. >> reporter: these backyard bunkers cost $100,000, installed. how many of these things are you selling? >> last year, it was one a >> so, last year, it was like, one a month.
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and then since december, it went to one a day. >> reporter: the paranoia is global. today, russian president vladimir putin weighed in at a press conference. "i know when the world is going to end," he said, claiming the mayans got their calculations wrong. he said the end won't be here for billions of years. shamans and sorcerers are now gathering in mexico, headed to mayan ruins. among them, this priestess. we met her at a mayan temple, performing a ritual with her crystal skulls. she doesn't believe this is doomsday. but rather, the beginning of a brand new era. >> perhaps that date, there's a great alignment. a great opportunity. >> reporter: an opportunity she doesn't want to miss. david wright, abc news, mexico. and we thank you for watching. and we will see you again tomorrow. as we leave you with a postcard from peoria, illinois, the festival of lights. winter wonderland in east peoria, courtesy of our affiliate, whoi.
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good night to everyone. have a wonderful evening. ♪ have yourself a merry little christmas ♪ a unanimous vote gives pg&e a big rate increase what. is your share of an upgrade is going to be. >> i'm sandhya patel.
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live doppler 7 hd, tracking the storm, rain is moving in. winds picking up. i'll have the timing. system and how this will affect your holiday travels coming up. >> new fall out from the school tragedy. leaders proposing a citywide crack down on fires. >> the city of oakland goes to bat fr a local pot club facing eviction, challenging a federal crack down with >> the san bruin yes pipeline explosion, it wasn't sure fault, but you'll have to pay your share to make sure this doesn't happen again. >> the decision means your bill is going to go up, tonight a lot of people are furious. abc 7 news is live in san bruno tonight with the story. this is what critics of pg&e were fighting against. >> well, originally, pg&e wanted customers to pay the
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entire bill of the multi billion dollar upgrade. the public utilities fk go that . customers will pay foremost of the repairs and upgrades as a result of the explosion that killed eight people, including renee's daughter. >> i can't bear to understand why they're continuing to allow to make deals behind closed doors and rate increase as loued to continue to go as business as usual. >> cpuc improved a rate increase hiking the average bill, having pg&e has to test nearly 800 miles of pipeline, replace something portions, and installing automatic shut off values. it's a $2.2 billion upgrade. the commission ruled customers will pay more than half of that, about 1.2 billion, shareholders will pick up
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